Category: Uncategorized

Branch AGM and monthly meeting

Please note that the next meeting of the Leeds & Wakefield Unite Community Branch will be held on Friday 2nd March 2018 from 1pm-3pm.

The first part of the meeting will be the Branch’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) at which officers and representatives will be elected. The second part of the meeting will be the monthly branch meeting.

The meeting will take place at the Church Institute in the centre of Leeds. Although the postal address is given as Market Street, the entrance to the building is on Central Road just next door to the entrance of Out of This World. Directions can be found here.

All members and new members welcome.

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Unite Blacklisting Day of Action

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As we announced yesterday, Unite the Union staged a protest outside a McAlpine’s building site in Leeds today to say no to blacklisting in the construction industry. Unite activists were joined by members of Unite Community Leeds & Wakefield Branch.

Commuters walking past the McAlpine’s site just opposite an exit from the railway station were given leaflets and spoken to about the problem of blacklisting.

Blacklisting prevents workers, particularly trade unionists, from gainful employment in the construction industry as the result of coordinated blacklisting by building firms.

Unite is taking legal action against blacklisters and is demanding a public inquiry, is seeking to make blacklisting illegal and campaigning to ensure that public sector contracts do not go to blacklisters.

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Unite Community says ‘no to blacklisting’ and ‘solidarity’ with Unite’s anti-blacklisting campaigners.

 

 

End blacklisting now!

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Unite the Union is organising a day of action and lobby of Parliament on Wednesday 6th December against the blacklisting of building workers by construction companies.

Many of those blacklisted or denied employment are active trade unionists fighting for fair conditions in the construction industry.

The day of action coincides with court proceedings being brought by Unite against four leading blacklisters from construction companies.

Lat year Unite won millions of pounds in compensation for hundreds of workers who had been blacklisted.

According to Unite Live, Unite is calling for ‘a full public inquiry into blacklisting, new laws to make blacklisting a criminal offence and the introduction of public procurement rules to bar companies found to have blacklisted workers from bidding for public sector contracts.’

More details on blacklisting can be found here and here

Unite Community Leeds & Wakefield Branch calls upon its members to support the day of action against blacklisting. Please meet 8am, McAlpine Site, City Square, Leeds, LS1 2HT, not far from the railway station.

 

 

Universal Credit Day of Action

Image may contain: one or more people and textThe Leeds & Wakefield Branch of Unite Community will be setting up a stall, collecting signatures and leafleting in support of the Universal Credit day of action.

Please join us between 11-1 pm on Leeds Kirkgate, off Briggate between Debenhams and Zara on Saturday 2nd December.

 

Peoples Assembly – Take Back Manchester – #ToriesOut

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Saturday 30 September – Wednesday 4 October – Protest the Tory Party Conference

Unite Free Coaches for members & families Contact Sharron.Lucas@unitetheunion.org

Join us this autumn in Manchester for a huge political and cultural festival to coincide with the Tory Party conference. 

We’ll be holding a series of gigs, parties, rallies, meetings, screenings, comedy nights, educational events, and a National Demonstration on Sunday 1 October, in the city to let them know that we won’t rest until we have chased them out of office…

**FACEBOOK EVENT NOW LIVE – PLEASE LIKE AND SHARE WIDELY**

You can download the Flyer Here.

Transport Page now Live! Check it out here.

“How dare the Tories come to our city?! A city annihilated by their cuts.” was how actor and friend of the People’s Assembly Maxine Peake put it last year. 2017 is the time to remind the Tories they are still not welcome in this great city. Their coalition of chaos is bound to fail, this is the ideal 

Put the date in the diary and join us to help us chase the Tories out of Manchester.

If you’d like to preform at the festival please let us know here.

 

For a taste of some of the things we put on in 2015 take a look here.

More details to follow*

Solidarity with UCU against changes to Statutes undermining protection for staff

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Show your solidarity with UCU members in our industrial dispute at the University of Leeds:

  • Sign and circulate the UCU petition:  http://speakout.web.ucu.org.uk/university-of-leeds-statutes-no-sackers-charter/
  • Email Vice Chancellor, Sir Alan Langlands, to protest:  Vice-Chancellor@leeds.ac.uk You could let him know that the catch-all SOSR (some other substantial reason) grounds for dismissing staff has no place in a University and that Leeds University has operated successfully without it to date. Please mention if you are a Leeds University alumnus. For information:  UCU offered to negotiate over additional specified ground for dismissing staff but management has refused.
  • Write to Privy Councillor, Hilary Benn, bennh@parliament.uk (parliament), boxj@parliament.uk (constituency) asking him to use his influence to stop the detrimental changes to University of Leeds statutes being imposed on staff. Management plans to seek privy council approval for the changes, despite widespread opposition and a live industrial dispute; Hilary Benn is a Privy Councillor.
  • Send messages of support to:  ucu@leeds.ac.uk
  • Share this message widely

Lesley McGorrigan University of Leeds UCU Campaigns Officer and UCU NEC member

Summary of issues Further details are on UCU local branch website:  http://www.leedsucu.org.uk/

Management at the University of Leeds wants to change the university’s statutes (which set the terms and conditions for academic and related staff) to worsen the protections for staff. Leeds UCU is in dispute about three changes in particular:

  •  adding an undefined catch-all category for dismissing staff for ‘Some Other Substantial Reason’ (SOSR).
  • removing medically qualified chair for panels deciding ill health dismissals.
  • removing independent legally qualified chair for most dismissal appeals.

Leeds UCU has negotiated long and patiently with management, including via ACAS, but management utterly refuse to withdraw any of these changes.

We are concerned because management has suggested that a potential reason to use SOSR to dismiss staff where there is  ‘third party pressure’ (this could be from corporations or government agencies who are unhappy with certain research findings), ‘breakdown in trust’ (this could cover anyone falling into disagreement with their manager) and ‘conflict of interest’ (this could be used against whistleblowers who alert the public or wider academic community about certain issues or concerns). Given the likelihood of such situations arising, Leeds UCU believes that this clause could seriously jeopardise academic freedom – which is at the heart of a functioning University.

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Tribunal fees – Ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court

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Dear Unite Community,

Today the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the government’s sky-high tribunal fees are unlawful, accepting UNISON’s argument that the fees are restricting working people’s access to justice.

What’s more, the government will have to refund any fees paid since 2013 — at a cost of about £27m.

It’s a massive win for working people, and we congratulate UNISON for doggedly pursuing this case. 

When tribunal fees of up to £1,200 per case were introduced in 2013, it very quickly became clear that many working people could no longer afford to uphold their rights at work.

The number of cases taken has dropped by nearly 70%. Low-paid and insecure workers have all but lost their ability to take cases, whether on non-payment of the national minimum wage, unauthorised deductions from pay, or even unfair dismissal. Only union members and the well-off were guaranteed access to justice.

And the number of discrimination cases has gone through the floor too, hurting women, workers with disabilities, black and minority ethnic and LGBT+ workers who have been unfairly treated or harassed.

The fees have been a bonanza for bad bosses, giving them a free rein to mistreat staff. As UNISON rightly argued, access to the courts is a vital component of the rule of law. Working rights aren’t worth the paper they’re written on unless they can be enforced.

This is a resounding defeat for the government, and they must act immediately to implement the court’s finding. Any fees paid should be refunded as soon as possible. But even then, we’ll never know how many people have missed out on justice over the last four years because they couldn’t afford to pay for it.

Above all, today’s result shows the value of working people standing together in trade unions. This decision will have a lasting impact, making sure people can enforce their employment rights.

The government priced workers out of justice, sending the message that fair treatment is a luxury, not a right. They’ve been proved wrong. 

Today’s victory is a great example of the value of working people standing together in trade unions.

Thanks for your support,

Frances O’Grady
TUC General Secretary

Further reading:
Unison: A massive win for our union and a massive win for all workers: https://www.unison.org.uk/news/2017/07/massive-win-union-massive-win-workers/
TUC: Employment Tribunal Fees found to be unlawful: http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/2017/07/employment-tribunal-fees-found-unlawful/